NEWS WATCH

ECKERD PLANS TO BLITZ PHOENIX AREAstore operator Eckerd, based here, last week said it planned to enter the Phoenix/Tucson market by late this year and open at least 60 stores there by the end of 2004. The chain, a division of JCPenney, Dallas, said the Southern Arizona market is appealing because of its growing retirement population and its popularity among tourists. All of the stores will be freestanding,

ECKERD PLANS TO BLITZ PHOENIX AREA

store operator Eckerd, based here, last week said it planned to enter the Phoenix/Tucson market by late this year and open at least 60 stores there by the end of 2004. The chain, a division of JCPenney, Dallas, said the Southern Arizona market is appealing because of its growing retirement population and its popularity among tourists. All of the stores will be freestanding, with drive-through pharmacies, one-hour photo labs and groceries. The chain's entry into Phoenix and Tucson marks its first expansion west of Texas.

MARTIN'S TO DEBUT ONE-HOUR PHOTO LABS

GRANGER, Ind. -- Martin's Super Markets will open its first one-hour photo-finishing service at a store here this June, according to Ken Bruce, director of nonfood for the 19-unit retailer, which is based in South Bend. Martin's has not yet chosen a supplier for the one-hour technology. Martin's will add the service to other units if the test goes well, he said.

SEVEN DRUG COMPANIES UNITE FOR DISCOUNT CARD

SAN FRANCISCO -- Seven drug companies this month said they would jointly offer a new discount-drug card to be administered by drug wholesaler McKesson here. The Together Rx Card will offer discounts of up to 40% on drugs from Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis to Medicare enrollees who meet certain requirements. Separately, Kroger said it would accept the Eli Lilly card in addition to cards from GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Pfizer.